College tuition headed north yet again this fall, forcing students and their families to lean more on the federal government to get by. Thanks to punishing state budget cuts, the average four-year public school tuition leaped 7.9% to $7,605, according to the College Board, while private nonprofit colleges raised their average asking price 4.5%, to $27,293.
To compensate, students are relying on federal aid, the AP reports. Last year 7.7 million students received $28.2 billion in Pell Grants—an almost $10 billion jump from the year before. That, combined with tax breaks and help from schools, kept average net tuition below what it was five years ago. But education policy experts warned that the government can only do so much, and that tuition increases are outpacing aid bumps. For more on underemployed grads—including janitors with Phds—click here.